Abu Sayyaf dead?

Southeast Asia Globe - - Panorama -

Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s cam­paign against Abu Sayyaf has in­creased in in­ten­sity as his 30 June dead­line to “fin­ish off” the ter­ror­ist group draws near. A foiled tourist kid­nap­ping on an is­land re­sort last month prompted Duterte to threaten a fullscale “in­va­sion” of the Abu Sayyaf strong­hold of Jolo. But some say the June dead­line is deeply un­re­al­is­tic. “All Philip­pine pres­i­dents have pledged to crush, de­feat, de­stroy [Abu Sayyaf], from Estrada to Duterte,” Joseph Franco, a re­search fel­low at the S. Ra­jarat­nam School of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, told

South­east Asia Globe. “None have suc­ceeded.” Franco said the prob­lem was much deeper than Abu Sayyaf.

“If, to­mor­row, [Abu Sayyaf] mem­bers sud­denly all have a heart at­tack, a [new] group will emerge in the in­se­cure mi­lieu of Min­danao,” he said. “Jolo Is­land alone is known to have 100,000 loose firearms. Cou­ple that with the lack of gov­er­nance and you have the recipe for the emer­gence of a new group.”

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